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Nods Taproom
Berkeley, CA 1950s

More an ongoing jam session than paying gig most of the East Bay jazz revival gang jammed there

On the washboard played by Brett Runkle, above, left, are the words:
"Nod's Saloon Ensemble"  L to R: Runkle, Oxtot, Butterman, Scheelar

Personnel heard there included: Byron Berry, Ted Butterman and Bill Erickson (trumpets), Bob Mielke (trombone), Bunky Coleman, Frank Chace, Earl Scheelar and Frank Goudie (clarinets).  Dick Oxtot played banjo and some tuba.

Photo Ted Butterman

Bay Area Jazz Club of the 'Fifties.pdf
Brett Runkle, 1978


With the exception of Oxtot, all these performers are badly under-represented on disc. 
This archival performance tape is quite listenable, despite technical flaws.

NODS BAR  May 19, 1960, Berkeley, CA
Byron Berry (trumpet)
Frank Chace (clarinet)
Jerry Butzen (trombone)
Bill Erickson (piano)
Dick Oxtot (banjo)
bass unknown

I Would Do Anything for You.mp3 (4:04)
Isle of Capri.mp3 (5:34)
Love is Just Around the Corner.mp3 (7:30)
Love Nest.mp3 (1:58; incomplete)
New Orleans.mp3 (4:44)
Riverboat Shuffle.mp3 (4:19)
Sugar.mp3 (6:30)
Struttin' with Some Barbeque.mp3 (4:03)
Oh! Baby_Nods_Berry_Chase_Erickson.mp3 (5:00)
Dr. Heckle and Mr. Jibe_Nods_Berry_Chase_Erickson.mp3 (5:15)
You Are My Lucky Star_ Nods_Berry_Chase_Erickson.mp3 (4:43)
Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella (on a Rainy Day) Nods_Berry_Chase_Erickson.mp3 (3:59)
Recorded by Dave Greer

Dave Greer
recalls Nods:

“A place called Nods in Berkeley had begun having jazz bands play once a week in a back room.  It wasn’t very big, but there was a bandstand if no dance floor.  Tables came up pretty close to the bandstand and the musicians."

Oxtot, Butterman, right

"A little small backroom-type place . . . on Shattuck just a couple blocks north of University.  I don’t know that these people hired a band or what they did, or if it was just a jam joint.  But they had some wonderful bands that crewed there.”

Greer’s fondest memory is of his friend, trumpet player Bill Erickson jamming with Ted Butterman at Nod’s:

“Some of the most exciting sessions were: Butterman would be there playing horn and they’d be swapping choruses.  They swapped choruses that were some of the most exciting music I ever heard.  It’s just a pity we don’t have a recorded example of that.”

New July, 2014


NODS BAR, April 6, 1960, Berkeley, CA

Byron Berry (trumpet)
Frank Goudie (clarinet)
Bob Mielke (trombone)
Dick Oxtot (banjo)
Bill Erickson (piano)
Brett Runkle (washboard)

New Orleans.mp3
Milenberg Joys.mp3
I Would Do Anything for You.mp3
Do You Ever Think of Me.mp3
Weary Blues.mp3
Walkin with the King.mp3
Shake That Thing.mp3

Recorded by Dave Greer

In his memoir
Dick Oxtot had fond memories of Nods:

“One of my favorite gigs, and probably the funniest.  A chief reason was the quality of the players, both regulars and sitters-in.  Some of them recall included Byron Berry, Bunky Colemen, Bob Mielke, Devon Harkins and Frank Chace, an excellent Frank Teschemacher-style clarinetist. 

Sometimes I played tuba, which I had been doubling on for a while.”
                       --  Dick Oxtot, Jazz Scrapbook, Goggin & Oxtot, Creative Arts, 1999, p. 24


Bill Erickson
Frank Goudie
Bob Mielke
Dick Oxtot
Ted Butterman
Earl Scheelar
Byron Berry

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